china

China, officially the People's Republic of China, is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.3 billion. The PRC is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party of China with its seat of...

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China, officially the People's Republic of China, is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.3 billion. The PRC is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party of China with its seat of government in the capital city of Beijing. It exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and two mostly self-governing special administrative regions. The PRC also claims Taiwan—which is controlled by the Republic of China, a separate political entity—as its 23rd province, a claim controversial due to the complex political status of Taiwan and the unresolved Chinese Civil War.

Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometres, China is the world's second-largest country by land area, and the third- or fourth-largest by total area, depending on the definition of total area. China's landscape is vast and diverse, with forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts occupying the arid north and northwest near Mongolia and Central Asia, and subtropical forests prevalent in the wetter south near Southeast Asia. The terrain of western China is rugged and elevated, with the Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separating China from South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, have their sources in the Tibetan Plateau and continue to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 14,500 kilometres long and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East and South China Seas.

The nation of China has had numerous historical incarnations. The ancient Chinese civilization—one of the world's earliest—flourished in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, known as dynasties, beginning with the semi-mythological Xia of the Yellow River basin and ending with the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911. Since 221 BC, when the Qin Dynasty first conquered several states to form a Chinese empire, the country has expanded, fractured and been reformed numerous times. The Republic of China, founded in 1911 after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty, ruled the Chinese mainland until 1949. In 1945, the ROC acquired Taiwan from the Empire of Japan following World War II. In the 1946–1949 phase of the Chinese Civil War, the Communist Party defeated the nationalist Kuomintang in mainland China and established the People's Republic of China in Beijing on 1 October 1949, while the Kuomintang relocated the ROC government to Taipei. The ROC's jurisdiction is now limited to Taiwan and several outlying islands, including Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, and it has received limited diplomatic recognition.

Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China has become the world's fastest-growing major economy. As of 2012, it is the world's second-largest economy, after the United States, by both nominal total GDP and purchasing power parity, and is also the world's largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods. China is a recognized nuclear weapons state and has the world's largest standing army, with the second-largest defense budget. The PRC has been a United Nations member since 1971, when it replaced the ROC as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. China is also a member of numerous formal and informal multilateral organizations, including the WTO, APEC, BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the BCIM and the G-20. China has been characterized as a potential superpower by a number of academics, military analysts, and public policy and economics analysts.

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experiences (8)

have you spent time in china? share your experiences

7

hong kong, china - anonymous' reflections after years there in their teens

posted by anonymous on 10/18/13.

How much time did you spend in Hong Kong?

I'm German-American, and I lived in Hong Kong for 8 years, and my family still lives there. I currently study abroad in the Netherlands, but Hong Kong is home to me. I'm a Permanent Resident of Hong Kong, which essentially just means I'm officially a citizen og Hong Kong, and can travel in and out and work there without needing to worry about visas and such, which is really nice to have!

How old you are/were while in Hong Kong?

I moved to Hong Kong with my family when I was 13, and I'm now 22. I went through secondary education there at an International school.

What brought you to Hong Kong? Where were you before?

I came to Hong Kong after having lived in upstate New York for 3 years. Before that I had lived in Beijing for 3 years and Wisconsin for 7 years. My family moved to Hong Kong because my Mother is a professor of linguistics and Chinese literature and film, and she got a job teaching at a university in Hong Kong.

Describe your impressions and thoughts about Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is a really busy and fast-paced place. It's densely packed outside of the New Territories, and even those are more densely inhabited than...

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6

hong kong, china - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/18/13.

I've been living in Hong Kong for over five years now. I had first visited Hong Kong when I was 24, and moved out when I was 25.

Previously I was living in Minnesota in the Minneapolis area. I was working at a board game company managing their production and arranging orders with various factories. Because we were starting to do orders with larger clients, we wanted to make sure there would be no safety and work compliance issues with the factory, I was sent out to do an inspection. I spent about a week and a half in the upper Guangdong area, and then spent about half a week in Hong Kong. Through a friend of a friend, I was able to meet up and hang out with a lot of non-work related people, and became good friends with a few of them. After that, I came back to the US and went through a breakup with my now ex-gf. Keeping in contact with the people over in Hong Kong, me and another girl whom I had met on my trip became very close, and eventually started long-distance dating. She flew over a few times to the US to spend some time with me, including Christmas to meet my family. She flew over again in February, and proposed to her. We weren't exactly sure how the marriage would work...

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5

shanghai, china - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/26/13.

How much time have you spent in China?

I came over to Shanghai for a month back in 2009 to visit a friend. I liked it (and her) so much that about 12 months later I moved here. I've been here a little over 3 years now.

How old were you when you came to China? Where were you before?

I was 27 when I moved here, and I just turned 30. I had lived my entire life in my home country (the UK) up until then.

What brought you to China? What made you choose China over any other place you could've gone?

It was a combination of 2 things really - firstly I had become pretty disillusioned with my life in the UK - I had a good job and decent salary but was still living from paycheque to paycheque, and over the last 10 years or so I didn't really like the direction that the country had been going in. I'd still say I'm proud to be an English person, but I wouldn't particularly want to live in England. Basically, I wanted as much of a change as possible in terms of pace of life, culture, language, everything - and China certainly delivered that. Also, I had become romantically interested in a friend who had moved here and wanted to pursue that - so I would say that she is probably the...

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5

shanghai, china - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 40s

posted by anonymous on 10/19/13.

What brought you to China? Where were you before?

I had visited my buddy here once before. We did the full tourism tour with his family - Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terra Cotta Warriors, then, Shanghai.

Describe your impressions of China in general.

It's different. It’s not as developed (generally) as the West but has a vast history that puts mine (US) to shame. The culture is amazing and ingrained in a lot of daily activities.

Shanghai is the most dynamic city I’ve ever seen. Friends who have moved away for a year or two don’t recognize their neighborhoods when they come back. The growth of new buildings is amazing.

Shanghai & Beijing (& HK) have an ongoing rivalry for the ‘best city’ in China. Beijing people think Shanghai people are greedy. Shanghai people think Beijing people think they are entitled and pompous. I can’t speak to Beijing but Shanghai is truly an international city. I don’t know of anything you can’t buy here. They have a pizza restaurant here that is better than any pizza I’ve had in the States (and I got a slice before in New York and have eaten at Chicago’s original deep dish restaurant). They are open-minded, and forward thinking. They strive to...

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4

china - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 09/25/13.

I've been here for 2 years and a month. I've lived in Beijing and I currently live in Shanghai, big cities are my thing.

I moved here from northern California after I grew bored and unhappy with my current job in telecom and my life in a medium-sized town. I wanted more adventure. I was offered a promotion and that was my trigger to leave; I didn't want to stay there forever. Fuck that. I turned it down, put in my two weeks notice and started scouring online sites and stuff for information about teaching ESL in China because I knew it would be easy, fun and an adventure. I was able to convince my girlfriend of the benefits and ease of China and she agreed to come with me. Within 2 weeks and 3 days of giving my notice at work I was walking off of the airplane in hot, sweaty Beijing. It was awesome.

The people in China have been vastly different than expected, and in more ways than one. For starters the whole "collectivist" culture I read about in college and high school; this idea that everyone is working together to do things... well that doesn't exist one bit. That's a huge myth. On the contrary it seems like people are very self-concerned, more so than at home and this is...

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1

china - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/17/13.

How much time have you spent in China?

I've spent in China a little around 4 years.

Which best describes how old you are/were while in China?

I came to china at the age of 22, I am currently 26.

What brought you to China?

I have lived before in Seoul, South Korea. I am not going to lie, but most important factor is Chinese girls which I view quite attractive comparing to white counterparts.

Describe the city you live in in China and your impressions of it.

City of Zhengzhou is main transportation hub of China, a place where foxconn has a factory which assembles iphone 5's and iphone 5S and 5C. I would describe Zhengzhou far from the clean city , pollution here is in the high levels, and soon or later when my real estate will be completed, I'll resell it and move somewhere else. If you want night life, you can easily find it here.

How does the city you live in compare to other cities in China?

I have lived previously in Shenzhen for 2 years which borders Hong Kong, and I think Shenzhen has been the most modern,cleanest with the best air quality city I have stayed in so far. Girls are a lot more more in Shenzhen as well, and it's being know for the richest city...

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1

china - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/16/13.

What brought you to China? Where were you before?

I was living in the states. I moved when I was still in school and living with my parents, so it was them that decided the move was necessary for me to learn more about my Chinese heritage.

I definitely experienced a bit of a culture shock. It's quite the change moving from suburban America to Beijing. My first impression was that it was very dirty and chaotic, but after growing accustomed to it, I would say that one of the biggest differences is between the static nature of the west, and the rapid development of Beijing. When I return to the States after a period of time, everything feels the same, but if you're away for a week in Beijing, when you return there's something different.

What are the the people of China like?

The people of China are often perceived as rude to Westerners, but I argue that they aren't exactly 'rude', but just are used to a different culture. Sure some behavioral customs get on my nerves at time, but it's just the way that it is. It's not considered rude to push your way through a line instead of waiting patiently, it's just the way things are done. Chinese people can be extremely kind in...

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1

china - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/30/13.

How much time have you spent in China? How old were you when you came to China? Where were you before?

I came to China about a year and a half ago at 25 from Thailand where I was teaching. I'd decided I liked teaching, but wanted to see somewhere new (A year in Thailand is more than enough time to see the sights).

What brought you to China? What made you choose China over any other place you could've gone?

I chose China because it was where the best looking job was, it wasn't necessarily the place I was most interested in, but the money was right.

Describe the city you live in in China and your impressions of it.

I currently live in Hangzhou, a provincial capital (and once the capital of China) It's a massive tourist destination within China, with people coming from all over to see. For me it's just about the perfect sized city to live in. No so small that I know every expat by name, not too big either. It's about a half hour train ride to Shanghai, so whatever I can't find here, I can easily make a weekend trip for.

What are Chinese people like? In what ways are they different than people in other places you've lived?

One of the hardest things to get used to...

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 videos (18)

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demographics

population

1,343,239,923 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

Han Chinese 91.5%, Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uighur, Tujia, Yi, Mongol, Tibetan, Buyi, Dong, Yao, Korean, and other nationalities 8.5% (2000 census)

languages

Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages (see Ethnic groups entry)

religions

Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2%

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 17.4% (male 125,528,983/ female 107,668,285)

15-64: 15-64 years: 73.5% (male 507,661,881/ female 480,115,760)

65+: 65 years and over: 9.1% (male 58,677,903/ female 63,587,111) (2012 est.)

urbanization

47% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

74.84 years

obesity rate

2.9% (2002)

literacy rate

92.2%

average years of education

12 years

economics

cost of living

4/10 (medium-low)

economic overview

Since the late 1970s China has moved from a closed, centrally planned system to a more market-oriented one that plays a major global role - in 2010 China became the world's...

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Since the late 1970s China has moved from a closed, centrally planned system to a more market-oriented one that plays a major global role - in 2010 China became the world's largest exporter. Reforms began with the phasing out of collectivized agriculture, and expanded to include the gradual liberalization of prices, fiscal decentralization, increased autonomy for state enterprises, creation of a diversified banking system, development of stock markets, rapid growth of the private sector, and opening to foreign trade and investment. China has implemented reforms in a gradualist fashion. In recent years, China has renewed its support for state-owned enterprises in sectors it considers important to "economic security," explicitly looking to foster globally competitive national champions. After keeping its currency tightly linked to the US dollar for years, in July 2005 China revalued its currency by 2.1% against the US dollar and moved to an exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies. From mid 2005 to late 2008 cumulative appreciation of the renminbi against the US dollar was more than 20%, but the exchange rate remained virtually pegged to the dollar from the onset of the global financial crisis until June 2010, when Beijing allowed resumption of a gradual appreciation. The restructuring of the economy and resulting efficiency gains have contributed to a more than tenfold increase in GDP since 1978. Measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis that adjusts for price differences, China in 2010 stood as the second-largest economy in the world after the US, having surpassed Japan in 2001. The dollar values of China's agricultural and industrial output each exceed those of the US; China is second to the US in the value of services it produces. Still, per capita income is below the world average. The Chinese government faces numerous economic challenges, including: (a) reducing its high domestic savings rate and correspondingly low domestic demand; (b) sustaining adequate job growth for tens of millions of migrants and new entrants to the work force; (c) reducing corruption and other economic crimes; and (d) containing environmental damage and social strife related to the economy's rapid transformation. Economic development has progressed further in coastal provinces than in the interior, and by 2011 more than 250 million migrant workers and their dependents had relocated to urban areas to find work. One consequence of population control policy is that China is now one of the most rapidly aging countries in the world. Deterioration in the environment - notably air pollution, soil erosion, and the steady fall of the water table, especially in the North - is another long-term problem. China continues to lose arable land because of erosion and economic development. The Chinese government is seeking to add energy production capacity from sources other than coal and oil, focusing on nuclear and alternative energy development. In 2010-11, China faced high inflation resulting largely from its credit-fueled stimulus program. Some tightening measures appear to have controlled inflation, but GDP growth consequently slowed to near 9% for 2011. An economic slowdown in Europe is expected to further drag Chinese growth in 2012. Debt overhang from the stimulus program, particularly among local governments, and a property price bubble challenge policy makers currently. The government's 12th Five-Year Plan, adopted in March 2011, emphasizes continued economic reforms and the need to increase domestic consumption in order to make the economy less dependent on exports in the future. However, China has made only marginal progress toward these rebalancing goals.

major industries

world leader in gross value of industrial output; mining and ore processing, iron, steel, aluminum, and other metals, coal; machine building; armaments; textiles and...

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world leader in gross value of industrial output; mining and ore processing, iron, steel, aluminum, and other metals, coal; machine building; armaments; textiles and apparel; petroleum; cement; chemicals; fertilizers; consumer products, including footwear, toys, and electronics; food processing; transportation equipment, including automobiles, rail cars and locomotives, ships, and aircraft; telecommunications equipment, commercial space launch vehicles, satellites

gdp per capita

$8,400 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

9.2% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 10% industry: 46.6% services: 43.3% (2011 est.)

unemployment rate

6.5% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

13.4% note: in 2011, China set a new poverty line at RMB 2300 (approximately US $363; this new standard is significantly higher than the line set in 2009, and as a result, 128 million Chinese are now considered below the poverty line (2011)

gini index

48 (2009) country comparison to the world: 27 41.5 (2007)